Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fare Thee Well

So the day has come. We must part ways. It is not your fault alone. I have met someone else. And has everything that I wanted. It was good while it lasted, but this relationship cannot last longer. Hope you meet someone else who is more committed to you than me. I will always have fond memories of you.
So long Blogger. But Tumblr is so much more cooler than you. You can send over my stuff  here.
Toodles then.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Androgenic Alopecia

Yes, that is what it is called. According to the Ultimate Reference, it is described as follows, "In humans, this condition is also commonly known as male pattern baldness. In classic pattern baldness, hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples. Hair also thins at the crown of the head. Often a rim of hair around the sides and rear of the head is left. This is dubbed "Hippocratic balding". Rarely, the condition may progress to complete baldness". Little did Arun know how close to the truth he was when commenting on a previous post, about me transforming to a balding something person. Yes that is exactly what I am slowly yet surely transforming to. Every strand of hair that pops out as I casually touch my head warns me of the impending doom. Each bottle of those miracle hair tonics smiles weakly at me as if it is telling me that it is good but not designed for such extreme cases. And I languish in the certain knowledge of what is going to happen to me.

Ah, the good old days, when the name Fountainhead was an apt tribute to It. The days when the visits to the barber were a necessity. My hair would have grown wildly and densely and would be protruding in all directions. The barber seeing me approach would give a loving glance of appreciation at the vegetation and grin widely at having an opportunity to practice his art. He would painstakingly set all the tools of his noble trade on the table and ask how short I wanted it to be with great apprehension. And I would give a regal wave and say with casual nonchalance "Bilkul Chota Kardo Bhaiya". And he would give a huge sigh and begin his work. The battle of wits between the artist and my locks would follow and the wily barber would have to use all the tricks that he ever learned to tame the foliage. At any point of time, there would be a trimmer, scissors of varying shapes and sizes, combs of several textures and a bottle of water on the table. And the battle rages on. Slowly I start resembling a normal human being instead of Mowgli and finally it admits defeat to human ingenuity. The artist that he was, he would flash me a grateful smile for giving him the chance to prove himself ( the hair lying on the ground which was enough for a wig or too might also be a possible reason).

And we come to now. The necessity has transformed to a ritual, a rather farcical one at that. Something that we do just as to retain the old tradition. Like the kings still being called Your Highness and all inspite of being just common me (pretty rich common men yes, but still common men). A memory of something past. Sort of like going and renewing the subscription of the science magazine, not out of necessity but rather as a ritual, I go to the barber every two months. Why two? No idea. Maybe it is the second part of 42. Or half the first part of 42. The great number has many ways of manifesting itself and it is not up to us mere mortals to question that. So two months it is. The barber on seeing me gives me a look, at once a mixture of disappointment, disgust and disdain. Somewhat the look given to a student who inspite of his early promise goes wayward and derails from his path of greatness. He mutters to his friends," Chai garam kar lo, main abhi aata hoon" and beckons me inside. I quietly ask him not to make it too short and he gives a grunt. Taking immense care not to disturb the flora too much, he pats the old egg here and there and sort of puts on a show for around 5 minutes. I pay him the charge, and walk morosely back, one hand on the mane which had challenged many a barber, the other hand trying to count the days before even this walk won't be needed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka

A short account of my impressions about Tejas will come as soon as I get an idea of what it does, which might take very long. So right now I will be writing a review of this book I read about somewhere as a must read for cricket fans. That time I was not that much into cricket (read pre-World Cup time). How a hardcore cricket person like me lost touch with the gentleman's game is another story altogether. Then recently during the holidays, I heard about a person called Sidin Vadukad writing for Cricinfo. That entire afternoon I split my sides laughing at the masterpieces that he had composed and considering that it was a day I was feeling low, I owe him for cheering me up. He also praised this same book and being indebted to him, I felt that I should buy this book. So I did and just now finished reading it.

Somebody has described this book as "A crazy ambidextrous delight" and it is spot on. A crazy story is exactly how I would describe it. It is a fascinating insight(?) into the world of a cricket team that I loath with all my heart, Sri Lanka. And if you remember that 54 run bowled out or Mendis running through the entire team or the semifinal of 96 or the scary sight of a small target appearing daunting at the prospect of facing Murali, then so should you. "Gamesmanship" "sportsman-spirit" bull-shit aside, it is hurting to see the team that you love lose. As someone said, "Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser".

Alright I am drifting from the topic so back to it. As I said it is about Sri Lanka in general, more about Sri Lankan cricet and especially about a quest to find the greatest spinner in history. No this is not about some talent-hunting reality show, it is about a search for a bowler whom the narrator believes is the greatest spinner to grace cricket, a genius who could do things with the ball that the supposed greats could only dream of. This genius was capable of bowling some of the most exotic deliveries like the Double Bounce ball (which spun twice) and that too with either hands. He was also capable of perfectly mimicking the bowling actions of anyone. Many of the greatest achievements of Sri Lanka seemed to have started from him, most notably the Great Lankan Opening Batsman's utter disregard for technique and still becoming one of the greatest players in their history and undoubtedly cricket history. He is also attributed to have introduced sledging to the otherwise meek Sri Lankans.

The aforementioned narrator is a severe alcoholic and is dying and wants this quest to find this bowler of mythical proportions to be his last contribution to the literary world. He is a part of a dysfunctional family with a son who ran away to become a rock star and brothers with whom he is not on good terms. His only allies are his neighbour who is a statistician The story follows the search in a rambling manner with diversions and detours but without losing the grip on the plot. There are several anecdotes about players, and as it has to happen the great Turbaned Indian Commentator does pop up. The book has a very good ending where I really got confused about what was fact and what was fiction. On the whole a very enjoyable book where you are introduced to some really nice characters whom you get to like even with their quirks and idiosyncrasies.

Unputdownable? Maybe not. Must read? Hmm, if you are a fan of cricket, then yes. Enjoy this rollercoaster account of the enigma that is Sri Lankan cricket.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What??? Next week???

...and behold, out of the blue, The Call comes.

I was calmly sleeping my holidays out when suddenly I was woken by someone saying Tejas is calling. What Tejas, I ask. The company that will eventually employ you, replies the person and I finally realise that it is me mum who woke me. A short conversation later, I realised that I have been asked to drag my lazy self to Bengaluru or Bangaluru or whatever by 20th June. Ohk... but that is like only a week away. And though one of my friends seems to own IRCTC (I am looking at you Amar), even he will find it difficult to get tickets at such short notice. But then they tell me to fly there. And I agree. And the tickets are booked for 19th June. And Bam! I am leaving home.

So after all my drivel about the holidays stretching like for eternity, it has come to a rather quick end. As I write this, it is finally sinking in that I am less than a week away from flying away. And like the fledgling that flies away when it finds its wings, I am flying away too. After a fantastic 17 years at home and school and an unbelievable 4 years for the first time away from home, I am going in search of my life. The nest remains open for me and come back I will whenever I can.

 Come 19th and I am finally on the road. Not in the way we use it in Malayalam! But more nicely:). This is a nice time to borrow from a master. As He said so will I:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. 
Hope my journey on it is as enjoyable as my journey leading up to it. My next post will most probably be as "R&D engineer at Tejas Networks", so there!

Till we meet again...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

And the days go on...

The mercury around these parts seems to not drop less than the 40 degree mark and I have therefore one more excuse not to venture out of the house :). The set-top from Sun has gone bust and therefore I am stuck with only a few channels, and however much I enjoy seeing ManU getting beaten, it is getting rather tiring. So I am stuck in front of the comp. But as my father has work to do on it, my time on it has been cut short to a 10 to 6 window. Thus I am now quite a pro on Hearts (thank god I never knew how addictive it can be while in college) and my virtual pro on FIFA has started getting all sorts of traits and attributes so that he may soon turn out to be a personification of his name - Damn Trikki :) (Please excuse my indulgence :p).

With the actual football season over, the only things going on are the Euro qualifiers and the transfer window. Liverpool seem to have already spent 12 mil+Eggnogg on one 20 year old. Hope he turns out good and capable enough to knock Stevie off the team. All sorts of rumours regarding players are flying around and this being just my second window as a hardcore fan (earlier I was just a casual fan of L'Pool and did not pay much attention to other details), its rather exciting and I spend more time on the Offside and Kopblog than anywhere else. As every fan around the world is hoping, hope we get a good winger and a solid left back and then we are good to go to get back onto our perch :) and back into Europe. Lets see what happens and of course in King Kenny we trust.

The days seemed to have been dragging along rather slowly but it has already been 2 weeks since I reached here. As I mentioned before, they have been a rather lethargic set of days but I am not complaining. I am expected to join Tejas Networks on July 11 and therefore have around one month left here. I had planned many things to do during these "last" holidays but so far nothing is working out. But again I am not complaining as I did not expect them to :). And the days go on in a pattern...

Friday, June 3, 2011

In Limbo

The past week has been one in which I have been unbelievably unproductive even by my own standards. Most of the days have been spent sleeping or playing FIFA and the most strenuous activity that I have been participating in is engaging in shouting matches with my sister. Usually I read books when I am free, but these days I am not even doing that. I began a book about Vedanta, maybe influenced by the Upanayanam ceremony I recently had but haven't got ahead too much with that. I begin to do crosswords but stop after a point losing my patience. I drew a few pictures but got bored of that too. I tried making quiz questions, reading the newspaper, reading Wikipedia, reading the status updates on Facebook, reading the Buzz updates, searching for updates about Liverpool, listening to music and even attempted to learn to make Sambhar :). But none of these are helping me while my time. Except for the sambhar part, I used to do the others for the last 4 years and those 4 years passed even before I blinked my eye so why am I finding it so hard to do those things now?
I have by now mentioned most of my friends so many times that my family know about them very much. So the next time we meet, my family may ask Achumama about cars, Ubuntu about IRCTC, Shakku about the rates of soda and kadala, Gman about TI, Firdu about Karikku, Varma about desp kavithas, Mannan about his latest acquirements, BJ about animes, Jay about Synopsis, Ku about Bombay and on and on and on. Missing everyone a lot. Can't wait to see you people.
So back I go to what I was trying to do, which is to not die of boredom and hostel-sickness :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

 Caveat: There are a fair bit of spoilers.

This is a book that I have been hearing about for the last 3 years thanks to my Dumb Charades playing friends, where this was a usual question alongwith having to name the author. This has again been a book that I have had regular access for the last 3 years thanks to an uncle. Yet me being me, it took me 3 years to finally decide to read it. The reading part took a lot less time, and just to ensure that I understood and remembered something, I thought of writing this review.

It is a wonderful book. Kidilam as we used to :( say in college. Haunting and somewhat terrifying. The author starts off by telling how he got the story for this book. He begins with a meeting with the person about whom the story is and then the entire story is in first person. It begins as a rather harmless tale about a kid who lives next to a zoo owned by his family. The kid is named after a swimming pool and is a really good swimmer. A very religious kid, he is at once a Hindu, a baptised Christian and a devoted Muslim. Life was going on smoothly till thanks to the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi, the family is forced into having to sell all their animals and depart to the "safer" shores of Canada. But the cargo ship on which they were travelling sinks along with all the animals on board and only the following escape: the boy, a zebra with a broken leg, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal Tiger.

This is the second part of the story about how the boy tries to survive on board a lifeboat with such a dangerous collection of animals, dangerous being a massive understatement. It is very interesting to read about how he copes with the many problems though it is slightly a la Robinson Crusoe or Coral Island, with the minor addition of the aforementioned creatures :)

The third part is at most 5 pages in length and is the most terrifying part in the book. The boy is questioned by agents of the company whose ship the boy was on and they appear sceptical about his story. The boy then tells an alternate version of the story and its truly epic. Stunning. I was shocked by that version.

The book thus consists of two tales about the same trip and we are then asked to select the version we prefer to believe, one of incredible bravery in the face of disaster, the other about the utter depravity of man, the most dangerous animal of them all.

The story is written in a very engaging manner, with the author including details about the person who inspires this story. Quite a must read I have to say, and is worth every hour spent on it. The book is very informative too with lots of details about animals as well as about the religions mentioned earlier. But beyond all this read this book if you want to see how to totally flip an image that has been built over 250 pages. Read this if you like to place yourself as the protagonist and wonder what you would have done. Read this if you think of man as a superior being than others. If none of these hold for you read this if you think of yourself as a moral person, I think you would question your morality after reading this book. I know I did.

PS : When it comes to books, I like most of them. These are MY opinions about the book and thus please don't tell me if you didn't like it. Sorry, do tell me if you didn't like and we can have an intelligent argument about it. Thus if you don't like, then please tell me why.